UPDATE: SAG, Studios to Meet Feb. 328 Jan, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Representatives from the Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the union representing the studios, are set to restart contract negotiations Feb. 3, a week after ousting the previous chief negotiator.
The meetings through Feb. 4 follow the Jan. 26 termination of SAG chief negotiator Doug Allen and would be the first involving the actors’ new negotiating team headed by senior advisor John McGuire. Former general counsel David White is interim executive director.
In a joint statement, SAG and the AMPTP said they would meet at AMPTP offices in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
"We will have no further comment about the meeting," the unions said in a statement.
Actors have been operating under an interim agreement since the previous contract expired last June.
Separately, in e-mail to SAG members, SAG president Alan Rosenberg, a staunch supporter of Allen, decried the manner in which the former chief negotiator was dismissed by a slim majority of the board.
“I believe I do speak for the nearly 48% percent of the board who are deeply concerned about what was done yesterday and about how these changes were accomplished,” Rosenberg wrote. “Allen was fired because he was simply too good, too strong, and too much a unionist.”
Rosenberg said Allen was fired because of his refusal to engage in “pattern bargaining,” whereby SAG would have agreed to previous labor agreements between writers, directors, stage workers and daytime TV actors and the AMPTP.
“Doug gave us the courage to accept the fact that we had a legal right to pursue an agreement that addressed the specific needs of actors,” Rosenberg wrote.
Specifically the executive has argued actors should receive a better deal for new media, a stance he’s taken believing SAG members have been shortchanged for years in DVD residuals.